What Virtue is Selfishness?

American_prosperity

You get what you pay for. Nice things cost money, but quality is worth it.

Rich people understand this – better, perhaps, than anyone. And most of them are willing to pay well for quality. 

Why, then, are so many people – rich and poor alike – convinced that spending money on our nation is wrong

Where’s the disconnect between the ideas of buying quality shoes, and funding quality schools?

Is it because things you buy for yourself are yours alone, while things you buy with taxes are part of your community as a whole? 

And really – if it is, when and how did such selfishness become a virtue? 

It’s certainly not a virtue in the Bible, most especially not in the words of Christ. Jesus and the prophets have stern things to say about folks who hoard wealth for themselves at the expense of their souls, society, and fellow human beings. 

It’s not in the writings or actions of our Founders, either – many of whom invested their fortunes, risked their lives, and in several cases lost everything for the sake of the nation they built for us. 

230442_154987061233973_136506519748694_336545_7322934_n

(Please notice that the years with the highest taxes are the years when most of our existing national infrastructure was built.) 

 

Selfishness is not a virtue in any creed save LaVayan Satanism, nor in any philosophy save the rantings of third-rate authors who did not even live the things they preached.  [1]

It’s not ever truly a virtue in untamed Nature, where “survival of the fittest” does not mean “those which kill everything off,” but “those which ADAPT TO THE BALANCE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS.” 

Despite the lessons and legacies of history, science and culture, there’s a popular idea out there right now that investing in our society, buying quality for our nation and its people, is wrong. Immoral. Even illegal. A concept that somehow it’s better to cut funding for schools, for cops, for firefighters, for clean air and safe roads and a future for our children, than it is to tax a millionaire. 

Where did we GET this idea? 

Did you ever think that maybe it was being sold to us? 

That people with something to gain from it had a vested interest in impoverishing the rest of us so that THEYcould continue buying more nice things for themselves? 

And then, if you DO consider that possibility, why would you still think it was a good idea to live in a shoddy nation so that a handful of people could continue to buy nice things at the expense of your present and your children’s future? 

Let’s be real: Taxes are necessary. They are investments in a society. They keep the bills paid. 

No human society has existed without some form of required contribution from its members: money, labor, inspiration, guidance, military service, very often all of those and more. [2]

Anyone who has shared a household knows that you need to keep the bills paid, the food stocked, the garbage cleared away. People have to do chores, chip in, keep the place in order. It’s not something you do when and if you feel like it – it’s something you regularly if you want to keep that home intact. Otherwise, everything falls apart. The lights go out, the water goes off, the trash piles up and everyone goes hungry. This was even truer of the households of “rugged individualists on the wild frontier” than it is today; back then, if you didn’t do those things – and do them OFTEN – you’d just simply die. [3]

That’s what taxes do. They keep the power on, the water clean and flowing, the kitchen stocked, the house clean and safe. 

They pay for you to live in a nice country.

They provide for your home. 

And like I said, you get what you pay for. 

Want a nice country? It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. [4]

If you want a shoddy, selfish, cheap-ass country, then go find another one. YOU go live there.

I don’t want to be stuck in one with you. I’m willing to do my share. 

If you’re not, then kindly get the fuck out. 

The rest of us don’t need you having nice things at our expense. 

24016_420868895411_754265411_5672535_5743774_n

 

————————————————

————————————————–

NOTES

[1] Nietzsche was a demented mooch from a wealthy family; Ayn Rand had no problem accepting welfare and tax-funded medical treatments; Ragnar Redbeard was a bad pen-name invented to shield someone without the courage of his convictions; and LaVey was a childish pseudointellectual leech who bilked money from losers before dying bankrupt in a Catholic charity hospital. None of them provided shining examples of the philosophies they proclaimed. 

[2] Another popular myth insists that 53% of the population pays the taxes that the other 47% life off of. Nonsense. Even if 47% of the U.S. population actually WAS exempt from income taxes (which we’re not), we all – even homeless people on the streets – pay sales taxes, licensing fees, permit fees and so forth… all of which are forms of tax. Even people without money contribute work, caretaking, education and the like, often in all-but-invisible ways. The handful of people who contribute nothing whatsoever to our society is proportionately microscopic… and most of them are too mentally or physically sick to make reliable contributions, anyway. 

[3] The archetypal Mountain Man still needed to buy the gear we couldn’t make himself; trade with people for supplies; hunt for himself and… if he had one… his family; deal reasonably with his neighbors; obey local customs – or at least not violate them; and work out some equilibrium with his natural environment. A man or woman who lived only for self-interest became an outlaw – hated, hunted, and eventually killed by Man, Beast, or Nature.

[4] Hint from history: A country where everyone that isn’t not rich is starving, ignorant, living in poverty, dying of disease, and supporting the rich minority is NOT a nice country. Nor does it survive for long without collapsing in a bloody heap under the weight of its own misery. 

Advertisements

About Satyr

Award-winning fantasy author, game-designer, and all 'round creative malcontent. Creator of a whole bunch of stuff, most notably the series Mage: The Ascension, Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and Powerchords: Music, Magic & Urban Fantasy. Lives in Seattle. Hates shoes. Loves cats. Dances a lot.
This entry was posted in Politics & Society, Spirituality & Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Virtue is Selfishness?

  1. Aristotle makes a very strong argument against many things being held in common when he states “what is common to the most people gets the least attention,” and “People are concerned most about the things that are particularly theirs, and less so about things held in common…they slight them more on the assumption that someone else is taking care of them.” He goes on to explain that “there are two things which most of all make human beings feel care and affection, something that is one’s own and something that is one’s favorite, neither of which can be present for people governed this way.”

  2. One small nit-pick:
    Nietzsche was a demented mooch from a wealthy family – I think it’s a poor reading to suggest he advocated anything we would term Selfishness. Nietzsche was referring to something closer to Thelema than it was to objectivism.

    Also, what about Max Stirner?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s